A Taste of Zen: Daju Huihai

Buddhism now

© 2011 Andrew Ferguson, Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings.
Reprinted by arrangement with Wisdom Publications

Summer Landscape Artist: Kano Tan'yū (Japanese, 1602–1674) © The Metropolitan Museum of ArtZen master Daju Huihai, whose name means “Great Pearl Wisdom Sea,” lived and taught in the late eighth and early ninth century. Daju was a senior and foremost disciple of Mazu Daoyi. He came from Yue Province, a place in Southeast China, and became a monk with a preceptor named Zhi at Great Cloud Temple, also in Yue Province. Daju Huihai is said to have had a bulbous forehead, which led to his Dharma name “Great Pearl.”

His biography relates that upon first meeting Mazu, the following exchange took place:

Mazu asked, “From where have you come?”

Great Pearl said, “From Yue Province.”

Mazu then asked, “What were you planning to do by coming here?”

Great Pearl said, “I’ve come to seek the Buddhadharma.”

Mazu then replied, “I don’t have anything…

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